Effects of headings on text recall and summarization

Robert F. Lorch, Elizabeth Pugzles Lorch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Two experiments examined how headings influence text recall and summarization. In a free recall task (Experiment 1), the presence of headings facilitated recall of unfamiliar topics but not familiar topics. In a summarization task (Experiment 2), headings and familiarity had independent effects, whereas headings interacted with the amount of discussion of a topic, such that headings had a greater influence on the likelihood that a topic would be included in a summary only when the topic was briefly discussed. Findings are interpreted as indicating that headings and the amount of discussion of a topic jointly influence readers' representation of a text's topic structure and so interact in summarization. Headings and familiarity jointly influence the accessibility of topic information and thus interact in recall, but not summarization,

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-278
Number of pages18
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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